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Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Jul 15, 2013 4:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: new Festival Express footage & some dating notes

Wow, that answers my question about GD, The Festival Express and Rochdale. I appreciate you forumites putting together this stuff and the Wesleyan stuff.

re: The Rolling Stone article description of Rochdale - it's very good.

> "18-story high-rise freak palace"

Says it all, there ya go -- People like myself (visiting) there would go inside intending to be there "for a couple of hours". But, you would quickly wind up meeting other people, and going into many other rooms there. There were many scenes going on there, constantly. They had a food store, movie theater, lots of supplies, and most stuff you needed to exist peacefully for days and weeks at a time. Lots of incredible dope was the main thing for me. So, we would come out two, three, four days later wondering what the heck just happened to the "extra days" that disappeared somehow. This happened to me many times I went inside Rochdale. For example, the next closest thing to this experience was free-basing coke for 72 hours - which I also did a few times back then, but not at Rochdale.

> "Originally granted government money for the support of a residential experimental college, it has turned into what might be called a front for subsidized housing (though the rents aren't that cheap)"

Yep, exactly. I remember the Rochdale occupants referring to it as a commune 'takeover'.

> "The fire alarm system is actually used for bust warnings."

Correct. Rochdale had their own security. The first and 2nd floors were "public" areas - things such the movie theater, a food store and stuff like this were on these two floors - no dope. Security was located on the second floor. You had to get past security to actually "go inside Rochdale" and enter the dope scene. To pass through security, you were required to give them a name and room number for someone inside. That's it! Whenever the cops showed up at Rochdale for a bust, security would turn on the fire alarm to warn everyone. Dope dealers, beer dealers (like my draft-dodger friend) and everyone locked up their store fronts and their store rooms and went to their residence rooms to wait it out. The cops usually showed up with a warrant to a search a specific room.

The view of Rochdale's front door from the outside showed a steady flow of people constantly going in and out with back packs, shopping bags, brief cases, packages, and stuff like this. The cops never bothered anyone going in or out when I went there. The very first time there we parked my car (with NJ license plates) inside the Rochdale underground garage. When we drove it back outside, the cops pulled us over before we got one block. We were "clean". After that, we rented a garage outside of town and we took the subway to-and-from Rochdale. We were very impressed with how clean and quiet their subways were compared to NYC's rundown and noisy subway system. Also noteworthy was how very clean and rubbish-free the streets of Toronto were downtown.

> "Graffiti decorates all the halls"

Yep. And there was a concert band shell (overhead thingy) there with a stage, located outside. Too bad they pissed off GD. It would have been an elegant venue for an acoustic set.